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August 10, 2000

Army Transfers Joliet Arsenal for Industrial Park and Transit Hub

ELWOOD -- Governor George H. Ryan today joined federal and local officials in announcing that the United States Army is transferring approximately 2,000 acres of the former Joliet Arsenal for the development of the new Deer Run Industrial Park and an Intermodal transit hub by CenterPoint Properties.

Ryan was joined at the official transfer ceremony by Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera, U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin, U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller and Jim Clementi, the mayor of Elwood.

"The creation of the Deer Run Industrial Park and the Intermodal Transit Hub is a tremendous example of what can happen when the federal, state, and local governments work together and don't get sidetracked by individual agendas," Ryan said. "This project is an example of our strong commitment to keep our economy moving forward by retooling brownfields and other sites that have been vacant for too long."

The project consists of two components. The first is a $265 million investment for a 600-acre Intermodal railroad hub that will employ 300 people. Long-term development will be a $1 billion investment by CenterPoint Properties in the 1,700-acre Deer Run Industrial Park, which will cover 17 million square feet and create 8,000 new jobs in 10 years. Over the next seven years, the re-development of the Joliet Arsenal is expected to create an estimated 20,000 union construction jobs.

"We are making a strong investment in the future of Will County, an investment that will pay off over time," Ryan said. "We're going to turn this brownfield sites in Illinois into a multi-use facility that will lead the Will County economy into the 21st Century."

The combined efforts of many government agencies, including Governor Ryan's Illinois FIRST program, made this project possible. The Illinois Department of Transportation will allocate $51 million in Illinois FIRST funds over the next three to four years for needed transportation improvements, including $27 million for the relocation and improvement of the interchange of Interstate 55 and Arsenal Road.

Also participating in the redevelopment of the arsenal property is the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, which provided $25 million to Elwood for expanded water and sewer services, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Commerce Commission.

"This development is the kind of program that Illinois FIRST was designed for. Without Illinois FIRST, state government would have been hard pressed to come up with the resources necessary to get this project off the drawing board," Ryan said.

The former arsenal, built over half a century ago, was used as an industrial complex to supply the armed forces with munitions. The complex occupied 23,500 acres.

Efforts to develop the vacant arsenal led to the creation of the Joliet Arsenal Development Authority, or JADA, a quasi-public organization set up by the state to coordinate the transfer of the arsenal land through the state to developers, such as CenterPoint Properties. The purpose of JADA is to "enhance the economic benefits with diversified projects and land uses that will create new job opportunities and support new economic development within the area."

"I'm very excited about what the Deer Run Industrial Park and the Intermodal transit hub is going to mean for the economic future of this part of the state-and for all of Illinois," Ryan said.


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